Used 1998 Ford F-150 Review




what's new

The 1998 F-150 gets a 50th Anniversary decal affixed to the lower left corner of the windshield. Other changes include making the locking tailgate standard on XLT and Lariat trims, optional on XL and Standard models. Foglights become optional this year on all four-wheel-drive models except for the Lariat, which gets them standard. An STX package featuring 17-inch tires, aluminum wheels and color-keyed grille debuts as an option for the XLT 2WD. The Lariat receives a color-keyed steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel and outside power signal mirrors. Silver Metallic paint replaces Silver Frost paint, and Light Denim Blue replaces Portofino Blue.

vehicle overview

When Ford introduced the new family of F-Series trucks in 1996 as a 1997 model, there was an uproar among old-school Blue Oval fans. Gone were their beloved Twin-I-Beam suspensions, pushrod engines and traditional styling. The new model appeared with a short- and long-arm front suspension, overhead cam engines and more swoops than a Dairy Queen sundae.

Now that the vehicle has been out for two years, naysayers have put their fears to rest. The SLA suspension provides excellent on- and off-road articulation, giving the most demanding drivers the best ride available in any truck. Overhead cam engines provide capable acceleration and enough power to tow Rhode Island to the West Coast. The swoopy exterior means that parking an F-Series truck in a crowded parking lot may be a bit of a challenge, but the outstanding visibility it gives when off-roading more than makes up for its somewhat sissified shape.

The Ford F-Series' interior is also a breakthrough. Stepping out of one of the competitive vehicles, like a Chevy or Dodge, and into the F-Series is like going from a Yugo to a Lincoln. All of the Ford's hard edges have been softened, and the interior materials are not something that one would expect to see in a vehicle meant for a hard day's work. When put to the test, however, the Ford's interior can stand up to the rigors thrown at it by the meanest of foreman and orneriest of ranch hands. Until this vehicle came onto the scene, ergonomic and truck were not words that we were likely to use in the same sentence. The positioning of the F-Series' controls, however, make this vehicle easier to drive than many midsize sedans.

Our main gripe about the new F-Series is its overly twitchy steering and the tall step-in on the four-wheel drive model. Not too much to complain about, if you ask us.

After driving several F-150s, it appears that Ford has taken a path designed to bring more personal-use buyers into the Ford fold without alienating truck buyers who work their pickups hard. Styling, always a subjective point, might turn potential buyers off with its free-flowing forms and smooth contours. We, however, like its clean lines and lack of clutter, particularly around the grille. If you are in the market for a full-size pickup, you need to see why the F-150 has been the best-selling truck on the market for the last decade. Ford redefined excellence when it introduced its latest full-size truck; the others are still trying to catch up. Chevrolet will be coming out with a new model for the 1999 model year, but we don't think that there will be any serious competition for Ford's F-Series trucks until then.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.